A History Of The Early Assertion Of

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A History Of The Early Assertion Of Judicial Power Essay, Research Paper A History of the Early Assertion of Judicial Power Once upon a time there were several men planning out the best way to divide the power in a fledgling new country. Some of them wanted one big power, and others wanted three smaller ones where the power was roughly equally divided. Eventually they went with the idea of the three powers and everyone appeared to be relatively content with that. However, the two bigger and ?more important? powers, the Executive and Legislative, started getting quite power-hungry and way too big. The smaller, last power, the Judicial, started getting a little bit jealous of the other two–until a man by the name of John Marshall and his friends, the Federalists, got ahold of

Judicial and turned everything around. The Constitution of the United States of America did not do much by way of outlining the powers held by the Supreme Court. Judicial power was the very last of the three main branches of government to be specified. In the early days of the Court?s power, it was left up to the justices to assert their power and flex their political muscles. Especially in the term of John Marshall was the judiciary power defined and enforced to lay down the foundation for the trends in the Supreme Court still observed today. It was in the early days of America that the Court heard those cases which would first define their judicial power. In 1803 it began with the case of William Marbury v. James Madison. According to the United States Constitution, the Supreme

Court could take only those cases of appellate jurisdiction, which came on appeals, the only exception being those cases involving foreign diplomats and ambassadors. During Marbury v. Madison (a case of original jurisdiction), Federalist John Marshall was the Chief Justice and Anti-Federalist Thomas Jefferson was the President. The case revolved around Marbury–also a Federalist– not receiving his commission to serve as justice of the peace because James Madison, Jefferson?s Secretary of State, never delivered it. Marshall knew that if he ordered the writ of mandamus to be issued, Jefferson?s administration would simply choose to ignore it. Therefore, he cunningly planned his decision out, knowing that although in the short term it was an injury to the Federalists, in the long

run it would help assert the Court?s power and ability to accept or reject cases. Marshall claimed that the power to issue writs of mandamus exceeded the Court?s authority, as spelled out by Article III of the Constitution. Jefferson realized the implications of the Court?s new invented power, although he had won this particualr case. This decision helped to make the Court the final authority on the meaning of the Constitution and also gave the Court authority to decide on the constitutionality of the acts of Congress. While before the power resided mostly in the Executive and Legislative branches, after Marbury v. Madison the Court was recognized as an equal partner in government. When the Federalistic Framers of the Constitution drew in Section 10 of Article 1, they knew it

would help them preserve one particular thing that was dear to their hearts: private property. This so-called ?contract clause? was heavily enforced during Marshall?s tenure, as shown in the cases of Fletcher v. Peck in 1810 and the Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward in 1819. Fletcher v. Peck involved public lands granted to private individuals through bribery, and the Court?s final decision ruled in favor of upholding the contract which seeded the land even though it was fraudulent. Whether the contract was legal or not, Marshall?s Court wanted to get the message across that contracts are sacred and that the granting of land is a property right. The Dartmouth Case involved the college?s original charter, created in 1769, before the United States even existed, which the